WHAT IS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION – FOI?

The new Freedom of Information Act 2014 came into effect on 14th October 2014.

The Freedom of Information Acts assert the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy of individuals.  

The Act established three new statutory rights:

Under the Freedom of Information Acts, everyone is entitled to apply for access to information not otherwise publicly available.  You have a right to request:

The following categories of records come within the scope of the Acts:

HOW DO I MAKE A REQUEST UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACTS?

If you wish to seek access to information within the Department using the Freedom of Information Acts you will need to:

Please note that the €15 initial application fee was abolished on 14th October 2014, when the new Freedom of Information Act 2014 was enacted.

If you are having difficulty in identifying the precise records that you require, the staff of the Department will be happy to help you. 

The Department will acknowledge receipt of your request in writing within 10 working days.  The acknowledgement letter will also provide you with the name and contact details of the person who will be making the decision in relation to your request and will advise you when you can expect to receive this decision. 

WHAT FEES ARE PAYABLE IN RELATION TO MY REQUEST?

Fees may be charged for search, retrieval and copying of the records requested.  This process involves two stages:

  1. Locating the broad set of records in which those requested might be found.
  2. Identifying, extracting and assembling the particular records sought for examination.

Fees for the estimated cost of searching for and retrieving records and copying the records can only be charged with respect to records being released.  €20 is charged for each hour spent searching for and retrieving records and €0.04 is charged per sheet for a photocopy of the records released. 

Bands for estimating search & retrieval (€20 per hour) and photocopying fees (€0.04 per sheet) :

Hours

Estimate

Action

Less than 5

€100 or less

No fees can be charged for search & retrieval or copying

Between 5 and 25

€101 - €500

Search & retrieval and copying fees apply

Between 25 and 35

€501 - €700

No more than €500 can be charged for search & retrieval or copying

More than 35

More than €700

The decision maker will contact the requester to ask him/her to refine/amend the request to ensure that the search & retrieval & coping charges are below €700. If the requester refuses to refine/amend the request then the request can be refused under Section 27 (12)(iii)

In cases where search and retrieval fees apply, we are obliged to charge a deposit of at least 20% of the estimate to the requester.

WHAT CAN I DO IF I AM UNHAPPY WITH THE DEPARTMENT'S DECISION?

The Freedom of Information Acts set out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage key interests of the State or of third parties.  Where this Department invokes these provisions to withhold records, the requester will be advised.  Virtually all decisions to refuse release of records may be appealed.  Other decisions in relation to deferral of access to records, fees charged, forms of access etc., may also be appealed. 

  1. 1.      Internal Review

You may seek an internal review of the Department's initial decision in relation to your request if:

The internal review will be carried out by an official at a higher grade than the original decision maker and who was not involved in the original decision making process.  The Department must complete its internal review of the original decision within 15 working days of receipt of the request for an internal review. 

To submit your internal review request, you need to write to the FOI Unit by email to corporate.governance@ahg.gov.ie or by post to the FOI Unit, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare St, Dublin 2 referring to your FOI request. You must make your appeal within 20 working days of the date that the decision letter was issued to you (the making of a late appeal may be permitted in appropriate circumstances). An application fee of €30 (€10 if you are covered by a medical card) is required before the processing of an internal review can begin.  This fee can be paid by electronic funds transfer (EFT) and our bank account details will be listed in all decision letters.

An internal review may affirm, vary or annul the original decision in relation to a request.  The internal review process must be completed before an appeal can be submitted to the Information Commissioner

  1. 2.      Review by the Information Commissioner

If you are still dissatisfied following completion of the internal review, you may also seek an independent review of the Department's decision from the Information Commissioner.  Furthermore, if you have not received a reply from the Department to your application for internal review within 3 weeks, this is deemed to be a refusal and you may appeal the matter to the Commissioner.Appeals should be made directly to the Information Commissioner (details provided below). The fee for appeals to the Information Commissioner is €50 (€15 for medical card holders and their dependants).

Office of the Information Commissioner

18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2

Lo-Call:           1890 223 030

Email:              info@oic.ie

Tel:                  01 639 5689

Fax:                 01 639 5674

THE DEPARTMENT'S SECTION 15 AND SECTION 16 REFERENCE BOOK

A guide to the operation of the Freedom of Information Acts and the functions, records, rules and practices of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

This reference book has been prepared and published in accordance with the requirements of Section 15 and Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Acts.  Its purpose is to facilitate access to official information held by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht by outlining the structure and functions of the Department; details of the services provided and how they may be availed of; information on the classes of records held; and information on how to make a request to the Department under the Freedom of Information Acts.

FOI - Sections 15 and 16 - Reference Book (951 kb)

PUBLICATION OF FOI REQUESTS RECEIVED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF ARTS, HERITAGE AND THE GAELTACHT

The attached documents are logs of all of the requests submitted to this Department under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Acts since its establishment on 1 June 2011.  It provides the following information in relation to each request received:

  1. The reference Number assigned to the request by the Department;
  2. The date on which the request was received in the Freedom of Information Unit of the Department;
  3. The category of the person making the request, e.g. whether they are a journalist, interest group or company or an individual. This includes non-personal FOI requests only;
  4. A summary of the information or records requested;
  5. The date on which the Department’s decision was issued to the applicant;
  6. A summary of that decision, e.g. whether the request was granted in full, part granted, refused or withdrawn and dealt with outside of the Freedom of Information Acts. 

The table will be updated regularly.   If you have any queries in relation to any of these requests or the operation of the Freedom of Information Acts in this Department generally, please feel free to contact the FOI Unit (details below) and we will be happy to help you.  

Address:         Freedom of Information Unit

                       Corporate Governance Division

                       Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

                       23 Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Email:              corporate.governance@ahg.gov.ie

Tel:                  01 631 3829/631 3830

2014 FOI Log (148 kb)

2013 FOI Log (143 kb)

2012 FOI Log (157 kb)

2011 FOI Log (32 kb)
2011 FOI Log

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

If you would like to submit a request under the FOI Acts to this Department or if you have any general queries in relation to the operation of the Freedom of Information Acts in this Department generally, please feel free to contact the FOI Unit (details below) and we will be happy to help you.

Address:         Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
FOI Unit/Corporate Governance Division
Room 303
23 Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Email:             corporate.governance@ahg.gov.ie
Tel:                 01 631 3830/631 3829

Further information in relation to the Freedom of Information Acts can also be found on the website, www.foi.gov.ie, which is maintained by the Freedom of Information Central Policy Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

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